Friday, November 12, 2010

Why We Moved to Arizona

When I was young and fearless, I drove from my home in South Dakota to a business meeting in Minneapolis with a blizzard on my tail.  The snow kept up for two days, after which I set out again for home.  Unfortunately, the day after a snowstorm in the Midwest is usually characterized by high winds that pick up loose snow and create "ground blizzard" conditions.  The roads were terrible, and 3/4 of the way home I skidded on a patch of ice and hit another car head on.  For a couple of years after that I couldn't drive on a two-lane road without flinching every time another vehicle came toward me.  I gladly sold my (replacement) car when I moved to New York.  I lived without a car for 13 years in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and then I moved to the Phoenix area where I've stayed for just over 8 years.  This means I hadn't driven in snow for more than 20 years, and I was hoping not to for another 20.


Today I spent holed up in our Omaha hotel room correcting papers for my online classes (yea, free WiFi!) while Barry and his daughter took her kids to the Omaha Children's Museum.  Afterward they came to the hotel so Barry and Natalia, the older child, could go swimming in the pool.  Then we all piled into Heather's SUV and went to P.F.Chang's for supper.

We were halfway through the meal when we noticed that the rain which had been falling off and on all day had turned into big puffy flakes of snow.  Lots of them.  They came down harder and faster the entire time we were eating.  As soon as we had finished we bundled up the kids, stuffed them into the SUV, and headed for Heather's house, where our poor car was accumulating its very own snowdrift.  We brushed it off, turned on our rear window defroster for the first time since I've owned the car, and started back to the hotel.  Slowly. And. Carefully.

And despite that, I hit a slick spot on a hill and felt the car skid sideways.  I started to steer into the skid but another car was skidding next to me so I just let the skid take us over the curb into an empty (except for snow) parking lot.  Shaken but not damaged, I drove the rest of the way at about 10 mph.

We packed our hats, gloves, boots, and heavy coats in case of snow, but we don't have snow tires or chains.  We are hoping this will all melt over the next couple of days so we will have dry pavement for the trip home.  We are definitely NOT driving back by way of Colorado.

"A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."  ~Carl Reiner

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